Pursuing Life's Daring Adventure

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In Gratitude: Photographs for You

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is Thanksgiving Week, and though we don't have a Thanksgiving Day in Czech Republic, I would still like to say a huge THANKS to all of you!

Thank you for joining me here at The View through My Lens, I'm posting five of my favorite photographs from this year, 2010. Please take and copy any or all of these to your own computers, and share them with your friends.

In Gratitude, these Photographs are Gifts for you ...

Sailing at St. Gilgen, Austria

Ribbons of Summer Grain, Czech Republic

Poppies, Czech Republic

The View of Mala Strana from Charles Bridge, Prague

Prague Castle and Charles Bridge

An easy way to do this is to hover your mouse over the image, and right click. You should have a list of options before you. Choose the option that says "save image as:" and click. Then select a spot on your computer where you would like to save it. One easy place to find your image is to save it to the "Desktop".

To make this image (or any other) your desktop photograph image, right click while you are looking at your computer desktop, and select "save as wallpaper". Or if you have a different operating system, choose desktop background, and select the file you want as the background photograph.

I am so thankful for my family, our friends, our health, our adventures, and for the ability to do what I love to do: write, capture beauty with a camera lens, paint, and connect with so many of you here. Thank you!

Starting the Conversation (leave a comment below): What is one thing you are most grateful for this Thanksgiving-time? And, do you have a favorite photo from these five (they're all quite different)?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Celebrating: Two Blog Years

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates other."
-Nelson Mandela, in his 1994 inaugural speech

To shine!

I am having a blog party today here on the blog! -- to celebrate two years of blogging! I have loved connecting with so many here over the couple years. So, first, thank you!

My first blog can be found by clicking here. So much has changed for me in the last two years:

In 2008, we lived in a suburb in Ohio, and lived the normal family-of-five existence, had a normal house in a normal neighborhood, shopped at a normal Kroger store, went to a great church, had great friends, and drove to Florida for vacations. Oh-- and I was writing my third novel, glad to have a super agent.

Now, in November 2010:
We live in a village outside of Prague, Czech Republic, halfway around the world from Ohio. We live a completely different life as a family-of-five--much simpler than the run-around whirl of constant activities in the USA. Family time is rich and plentiful, and we're loving it.

Although our house in Prague is quite "Western", it also is not "normal" by US standards. Everything is on a much smaller scale, and our space involves mostly family space. Before we moved, we gave many of our things away, anticipating the shrunken space and total three closets for all of us (one is the coat closet! And no basement, no attic storage. What we have is what we use.). We live in a Czech neighborhood where few people speak English.

We shop at a few different stores for our daily food, all the size of a US 7-11 convenience store, and we mostly have home-church (which we all enjoy so much it's hard to admit) because of the restricted options here in a post-communist country.

Our friends here in Czech are from every continent, from many countries, and speak many languages, and our friendships have become the deepest of my life. I am so very blessed to have so many incredible friends here.  This is one of the things I treasure most, along with our family.

And, as we drive to places like Rome, Budapest, and Dubrovnik for vacations, we learn new currencies, new languages, and learn from many peoples. It is living a dream. We are so grateful.

Oh-- and if you read my blog, you know that I still love to oil paint, and play music on the piano and viola, and take photographs with my camera ... and most of all write. I'm currently writing my 5th novel. None have been snatched by a publisher yet, but we're close ... grateful to have the same super agent representing me and my work. And I'm loving it.

Life changes have been great changes for all of us. Again, we're so grateful. And we're savoring every minute ...

Though the changes in my life have been drastic in the past couple of years, one blogging goal has remained the same ... to just write, about things that strike my interest in daily life. About the daily adventure ... and how I'm learning along the way.

Many blogging folks tout new fast formulas for increased following or fancy new metrics for watching how many people are reading each post, or ways to write catchy titles and play the latest tricks to be the widest-read blogger out there. I think I could do that. But that isn't me. To me, I want to connect with people. And be me-- shine the light that is Jennifer Lyn King. That's it. 

So, I thank you for stopping by and celebrating with me about The View through My Lens reaching its third year of weekly posts. This is number 112! And I sincerely hope you feel more inspired to live larger, shine brighter, and take a risk to do something you love today, in this daily adventure of life.

Last thing, a Christmas shopping commercial: It's Christmas shopping season (again!) and I would love it if you felt moved to buy my non-fiction book, The One Year Mini for Busy Women. It's still on shelves at many US bookstores, and it's conveniently available at Amazon for $11.04, and it makes a great gift (so I've heard :o) ) because it is a daily inspirational for busy women, with one short reading for each day of the year.

Starting the Conversation: What blogging tips to you use and follow? And what practices do you find on the Web that bother you as a reader? I'd love to hear what you think-- and if you have suggestions, I'd love to try them out! Thanks!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why Create?

"Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement." 
~Golda Meir, (Israeli Founder and Prime Minister, 1898-1978)

Happy November! One of my favorite months of the year -- because it has Thanksgiving in it, one of my favorite holidays. Also, November is officially the National Novel Writing Month, in the United States, and beyond the borders. NaNoWriMo, as writers call it, also is an organization that encourages people to write a (short) novel during the month of November. They have an official website that helps track progress, and a network that helps to keep participants encouraged along the way. Click here to see my writing goal.

Reaching the goal (here above the tree line, in the Austrian Alps)

This year, I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Why? For a few reasons, really ... but it all comes down to the fact that I love to write. As with the title of this blog, I share the View through My Lens, but if you've read my bio, you know that my passion is writing. Writing novels. 

As with all of the arts, the writing world is a tough place to break in ... or get a publisher for one's work. But just as someone can't walk up to the London Symphony Orchestra and say they want to join and learn how to play a violin, a person can't walk up to a publisher and say they want to use a computer and have their book published. (Well, with self-publishing, technically people can. But that also means the product could be about the same quality as if a novice violinist opened for the London Symphony.) 

The only way to break-in to the Arts is to work. Work more. And keep working through until the quality of an artist's work is of the highest quality. Then, that artist, if it is their time, their hard work will pay off. Their dream will come true. Until then, the term "starving artist" applies well, because it usually takes years. Of work. To get there.

This novel I am writing now is my fifth. And though my last novel was within a breath of being published, it was not. It wasn't the time, yet. And so I work ... and work more.  Well, I also write because I will continue to write, regardless; it is what I deeply love to do.

It is for this reason that I am participating in NaNoWriMo. I've been spinning this novel in my head for the past few months, plotting and feeling the characters come to life inside my head; it was ready to come out.  Creativity takes courage. To create something is to say, "I have something inside to offer, to give, to share." To create is to be fully alive.

I think that comfort (or inaction) is the enemy of reaching our dreams. It is much easier to make ourselves too busy for the sake of being busy so that we don't have time to work toward a goal. But, we can make time. We can clear the schedule. We can realign with our goals. For me, NaNoWriMo is a great kick in the pants. It happened to be the perfect time to pick myself up and move ahead, keeping my sight fixed on the next goal.

Creating something, pursuing a dream, becoming all that we were created to be, and using the gifts we have been given -- none of these are easy. But to achieve something worthwhile, something that resonates and satisfies, we have to trust inner compass and step ahead, in the direction of our dreams. 
Starting the Conversation: What holds you back from pursuing your dreams? How can you begin again, moving in that direction?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Photography: Being There

"The glory of God is man fully alive."  -St. Irenaeus

"Regenbogen" (Rainbow) in the Austrian Alps
Continuing on the topic of photography, and sharing a few more of my favorite photos from my recent trip to Italy ... this is the fourth week on the topic of photography. Click here to read #1, #2, and #3.

I love photography for many reasons, but probably the primary reason is the ability to step out of time and capture an image that I see in my everyday life. Somehow for me, those images are art. And a camera feels like the most rewarding way, with its ease and portability, to be able to make visual art. Don't you agree?

Also, for me, there is something about the ability to live and be in the moment, without twisting back into nostalgia or sprinting forward with worry. When we are fully present, where we are, we can be fully alive. 

A moment with a wisp of fog (Italy's Cinque Terre)

So many times, I have discovered "being there" to mean that I see something meaningful that I may have missed in the ordinary busy-ness of everyday life. Sometimes "being present" means to mark out what haunts us from yesterday, and to dismiss what nags at our thoughts for tomorrow. Then the now is all there is. And it is all we have, really. There are no guarantees. Tomorrow's sunset will not look the same as today's. Time today to spend with others may not come around again. There is no formula for whether tomorrow will be like today. We can enjoy today for what it is-- the present, a gift.

When we notice what is around us in the present moment, we may discover all kinds of gifts.

We may notice things we may not have seen before ....

A moment with a pasture full of sheep wearing clanking bells (Tuscany)

A moment when the setting sun painted the distant mountains with brilliance (Alps)

A moment when the sunrise began to lift the morning fog (Tuscany)

If we have done a bit of preparation and can rest and relax in that moment and have our eyes open wide, we will be able to see and experience what is there, in that moment. And many times it is breathtaking ...

Starting the conversation: Have you taken the time recently to slow down? What did you "notice"? Does having a camera with you help you to slow down and see?